Thursday, February 24, 2005

Anna Karenina and Ms Hathaway

I finished "Anna Karenina" somewhere on I-87 headed back to the city from upstate. The bus was so frakking hot and I was down to my T-shirt, pants, and socks, and sneakers. Kept nodding off from the heat. Or was it 287 before Paramus, NJ?

I'm pleased that I got to see what "Anna" is all about. It was a bit of a struggle as it is a very Russian novel and I was distracted with other books. First of all, I'm not familiar with Tsarist period (19th century) before the Bolshevik revolution (early 2oth century). There were a LOT of references to the issues at the time: serfdom had been abolished, reforms, philosophical writings.. so though it was interesting but kinda a drag at times. Some parts were entertaining while others were suffocating or in between. I tend to avoid Russian novels because they're so.. Russian. They do not seek to escape reality as we Americans are prone to. The writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky ---- saturate their novels with foreboding feelings of insecurity, moodiness, conflicts, do psychoanalysis of their own flaws and comparing themselves to others. There's no happily ever after, fluffy bunnies, chirping birds and such. I had to take a break at one point cos the story had snuck into my sub consciousness - had a rotten dream about one of my loves, so I woke up feeling very.. Russian.

I could go on more about the book but it'd be a spoiler or just rambling. For my English class in a mainstreamed high school, we read two articles by different writers. I don't recall their obscure names, but they wrote their reasons for reading the world's greatest literatures. One writer said he had, like, a top 100 list of must-read literature that includes Greek tragedy, Mark Twain, Joyce, the classics. He read them just so he could say he did read them. The other writer contrasted the first writer's approach, arguing whether people do really get it or appreciate the essence of the material/story. Point: I tried reading Moby Dick and Catch 22.

For Moby, I couldn't get past few pages. Why is Ahmed so bent on Jonah the Whale? Even Star Trek's "First Contact" made a referral to the book about revenge. In 1997, when I was still literally immature I gave up half way through Catch 22. I appreciate deadpan but that is deadpan infinity plus one. Now that I've successfully finished Anna and generally grasped its various messages, Catch 22 should be a walk in the park.

I've just begun Great Expectations mainly because Ms Hathaway was so hilarious in Thursday Next's Lost in a Good Book so I got to see what's she all about.


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